Thursday, July 19, 2007


We have, in the last 24 hours, been called prostitutes, pedophile bait, and been accused of singlehandedly setting the suffragette movement back 20 years. It was fun at first to read everyone's comments, but at 270 and counting over at SB and other blogs it's getting kind of hard to deal with. I wish people would just let it go at this point. We did something we thought would be fun and a great icebreaker to introduce people to the Shomi line. We didn't think it would stir up such a storm.

The miniskirt heard round RWA

The implication that troubles me the most, however, is that because we chose to market ourselves by wearing manga inspired outfits to promote a manga inspired book we must have crap books that no one would want to buy elsewise. Or that we didn't spend any time writing these books because we were too I don't know. We worked our asses off to write these books. Liz's got a starred review in PW and I got an awesome 4 star review from RT. (My PW review is not out yet.) The costumes were part of our author branding...totally different thing.

And people who believe that good books stand on their own and succeed without publicity should meet some of my extremely talented writer friends who have had their series cut midway through or have been unceremoniously dumped by their publisher even after winning major awards.

I'm not saying costumes are the way to go. Or that they will replace the responsibility of writing a good book. But costumes are just one tiny part of our author branding. It just seems to be the part everyone is choosing to focus on in the last 24 hours. And yes, there are plenty of bestselling authors who never wore costumes, but there are also famous musicians who never wore anything but jeans. But I like David Bowie better. :)

I'm trying to remind myself that people who would declare in blogs that they would NEVER buy a Shomi book now that they've seen my thighs at conference are probably not my target audience anyway. And at least now thousands of people who never knew me and my books existed now do. Will it lead to sales or book burning? I don't know. (If you're going to burn my book though, can you please purchase it the first week it goes on sale? hehe) All I know is that I had fun at the conference and the costumes helped Liz and I meet a lot of great people we normally wouldn't have met and so I can't say, even though controversial, it was a mistake.

At the same time, I think I'm going to like Comic Con next week much better. ;-)


K said... go girl! (picture that coming from someone young and hip deep inside this old haggish exterior of mine :-)

Gorilla marketing has its downside. I think you and Liz are going to find yourselves glad you made the choices you made. You spoke to your demographic, and you got a conversation going that never would have taken place if you'd sat staidly behind your stack of books.

Word of warning: if ComicCon is anything like the science fiction cons of my younger days, prepare to enter the Twilight Zone (and enjoy it!).


The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick said...

Rude. That's all I can say about all this ridiculous backlash. I saw you and Liz in your costumes at one point during the conference and thought how cute and different! You notice that no one is commenting on the few ladies who dressed in costume for the Rita ceremony. I specifically recall seeing a busty pirate wench costume (no offense to anyone out there, but that's how I've seen the costume described in stores), as well as a true Regency looking costume. Why hasn't anyone focused on that? Unbelievable. Maybe everyone who is spending so much time making these nasty comments should put that energy into their actual writing. Hmm, a novel idea. :-)

Chin up, Marianne. I for one, will be buying your book because I'd like to read it...not burn it. ;-)


Bethany said...

I'm wondering if any of these nay-sayers have ever been to a Harry Potter Movie Premiere (or book release party)? or how about Star Wars Trilogy premiere? Because let me tell you... costumes are THE THING. Manga, comic, star trek conventions... um, all costume.

And hey, if i could fit myself into one of those miniskirts (and those FABULOUS leggings), you bet your bottom dollar I'd wear them too. ;-)

Mystery Robin said...

I honestly can't believe this is contraversial. Truly, I think it's just because you and Liz looked so cute. If you'd dressed up as somebody frumpy, no one would probably care!

Kim Stagliano said...

I love your creativity and ability to realize you can't "skirt" your own publicity. I'm thinking of writing a costume/theme into my book so I can do the same thing.... Good luck.

Heather Harper said...

If it were not for your and Liz's efforts, I may not have realized that I would like Shomi books.

So there. :)

ariberkana said...

This is ridiculous. I mean, seriously, you are being ridiculed because you wore a MINI-SKIRT? I've seen the pictures and I don't think that you were dressed like prostitutes at all.

I agree, haven't people got better things to do with their time than to debate whether or not it was "proper" for you to dress up as characters in your own books?

I think it was a great, fun idea for you two to dress up like that. And that's one of the reasons that I read (and will continue to read) your books and your blogs. Because you are both super fun and you think outside the box.

Rinda said...

I've been wondering how you guys have been holding up. I was in on the beginning of the discussion and made a joke about being too old and frumpy for the line. I even tried to steer the conversation away from the horrible pedophile references which were completely out of line.

As for the frumpy? I have in fact decided I could do the black jumpsuit on the back of Wired without problem. heh heh

You guys just got caught up in an old argument. I've watched the same authors in my chapter argue the respect thing until they're banging their heads on a painful and unforgiving wall. For more than ten years. Truth is, most genre fiction will never earn respect from people who eat "serious" literature for breakfast.

Why do we need it anyway? If we, ourselves, respect what we do, that should be enough. If we feel our work is serious, why be bothered by what they say?

I think you guys looked great! Jeez, I own a couple of skirts like those and I'm 37. (g)

I went on to write about it, but decided not to post the entire thing since I'm with you--time for it to die down and focus on the books. Which I couldn't be more excited about. :)

Kate R said...

you know what? That's how you know you're cutting edge--you've made people like me uncomfortable.

In a few years cosplay will probably be the norm but you'll have been among the first (in romance, anyway) In the meantime, hang on for the ride and listen to your readers. They're the ones who get it.

Gail Dayton said...

Geez--some people need to get a life. Or read some books. I picked up WIRED at the store yesterday, because I didn't make it by anyplace I could get it in Dallas. And I'm WAY out of your "target audience." Except I AM your target audience, because I like good books with lots of SF/Fantasy and have since I was oh, 10 years old. Which was, oh--40 or so years ago. Which means that I couldn't wear a costume like that if I wanted to (and would look really silly trying), but dang, if I could figure out something that wouldn't look like--oh, putting a pig in lingerie--I'd do it faster than a cat on a june bug.

I think I grabbed up your preview book when y'all came by and talked to Sylvia Day, or Alesia or someone on my row, so we said a very quick hello--but I didn't actually much notice what you were wearing...but then I don't. I even missed the swan hat. sigh.

Some people... geez...

Vivi Anna said...

Me and my girl Kimberly Kaye Terry think you guys rocked it!

It's all about the promo. And I guarantee you half of the one's bitching about it wished they would've thought of doing something like that.

I'm talking about it over at my blog

Karen Templeton said...

Oh, for crying out loud. You're young, you're adorable (the pair of you!), you're targeting a younger audience -- for you, dressing up as part of your branding totally works. From the photos I saw, I thought your outfits were fun and kicky. On someone my age (ahem), they would not have worked at all (trust me on this), but on you two?


In your case, it's the bruhaha that's gone too far, not your outfits.

Kate R said...

well, damn.

I just read this (about time) and I want to read more, now.

Maybe while everyone else in the house is reading Harry.

Annie said...

I don't know if this will help you or liz feel any better. I posted a review of liz's book on my blog and plan on review on bookstores' sites later.

J.T. Bock said...

It's funny because I thought you two were models hired by Dorchester to promote their new line or else I would've asked about your books. Yes, you looked that damn good! At least bad publicity is better than no publicity. I wish you both the best and I'm looking forward to checking our your Shomi books (I picked them up at the conference). And I was happy to read about others who felt the same way about the industry, who want to do a fresh twist with edgier romance.I wish you lots of luck and thank you for paving the way for those of us who enjoying writing these types of stories. However, watch out at the ComicCon because in those outfits you'll have the total opposite reaction than at Nationals. :P

Candy said...

Dude, sorry about the shitstorm. I didn't think people would get quite so worked up over a couple of hot chicks in a motherfreakin' miniskirt. It's quite the tempest in the teapot.

RfP said...

It must be hell having all those comments flying. But it's NOT about you. It's partly about romance culture and mostly about the blog thang. Shit doesn't just happen on blogs, it turns personal and gets exaggerated and creates armed camps.

If the conference went well for you, that's all that matters in the long run. If this crap didn't happen to you there, I bet it won't next time either.

BTW, I love kneehighs. I don't wear them as "business casual", but the short plaid skirt? Frequently.

Shannon McKelden said...

I just had to pipe up here and offer my support. I wasn't at the conference (darn! missed you guys!) but I think you looked adorable. And if you can attract some younger women to romance reading then rock on, ladies!! My daughter just graduated from high school, and I bet there were only 2-3 other girls besides her reading romance (I started her young, hehe!). If books like the Shomi novels and writers like you and Liz, who are brave and fun, bring new readers, then I'm behind you 100%.


Jeffrey Yamaguchi said...

You guys looked great! Embrace the controversy and keep pushing it!